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For Equations, On-Sets, or LinguiSHTIK, a helpful way for students to prepare for league tournaments is to play a round-robin among themselves. Depending on which students practice together at which times, try to have every student play every other student in a match during the preparation period for the tournament(s) in that game. Draw up a grid (spreadsheet) with the names of all the players down the left and across the top (in the same order). Place X’s in the cells where a student intersects himself/herself. Then use the other cells to record the scores of students as they play each other during the practice sessions.
Some helpful rules:
- When a student in a higher division plays a student in a lower division, the lower division’s rules and variations are used. (One of the big advantages of the round-robin is that younger students play older students and learn from them. Occasionally upsets happen!)
- To equalize scores between two-way and three-way matches, record scores in the grid cells as if they were head-to-head between the two students. For example, if students A, B, and C play a round-robin match and finish in the order A-B-C, give A a 6 against both B and C, B a 4 vs. A but a 6 vs. C, and C a 4 against each player. In this way, no one is discriminated against by making a 2 in a three-way match.
- When the round-robin “season” ends (when the tournament or tournaments for that game have been completed), give prizes to the top scorers in each division. In this way, students in a lower division can still score highest against their peers even though all are playing against older students as well. Candy is a well-received prize.
- Base the prizes on total points, not average score per match, so that students who attend practice faithfully and play numerous round-robin matches are rewarded.
- After the first few practices, you (or a student assistant) should draw up a schedule of round robin matches for each practice so that each student gets a new round-robin opponent.
- You may not want to start the “official” round-robin matches until after a few practices to give the newcomers time to learn the basic game and any variations.